Being the first always garners a great deal of attention, especially when you are the first to do something a bit different. While the latest Shelby GT500 definitely earned its performance halo with 760 horsepower, a dual-clutch transmission, and numerous other improvements, it also responds nicely to performance modifications.
Slamming one to the ground with an air suspension isn’t a mod most people have in mind for this car, however. When Alex Benberg upgraded his Grabber Lime 2020 Shelby GT500 daily driver with an Airlift Performance suspension, it took the internet by storm as the first one with “bags.”
It’s kind a mix between people liking it and people disliking it, but that’s the same for any car… — Alex Benberg, Car Owner
“I thought about it before I purchased the car, but the original plan was to just go with lowering springs. The main issue is the car’s been out for about a year but not many companies have developed anything yet,” Alex said. “Sam Lippencott of Coastal Chassis Dyno & Performance made a front spring that will level the car out to the Carbon Fiber Track Pack rear springs and I planned to do those. Then I thought ‘Well no one’s done air yet, so I’ll do that.’”
While there were shots of a GT500 with an air suspension onboard going around the internet a while back, it turns out that installation was never quite completed. Fortunately, Alex had a friend with some significant experience installing his chosen system on the latest Mustangs, including that friend’s own Shelby GT350.
“The Airlift Performance 3P kit is designed for a base-model GT, so there’s a few things that have to be changed to fit the GT500. Part of the IRS on MagneRide cars have a wider attachment point for the rear shock, so it’s not a perfect fit,” Alex said. “We had to design a fixture to hold the shock in place. Another thing that has to be done is that the factory MagneRide is attached to the rear shock itself. To remove it, you need to cut out the MagneRide system — physically cut it out.”
While the new suspension offers its own dampening, compression, and rebound adjustments, removing the factory MagneRide from the car could cause issues with the factory electronics. As such, he employed a ShockSims MagneRide Bypass Kit from Xineering Electronics to ensure that his dash didn’t “look like a Christmas tree.”
While air suspensions can definitely perform at a high level, it is the slammed look that is so eye-catching. However, when it comes to one of the most iconic performance Mustangs of this era, the opinions on a bagged Predator were polarizing.
“It’s kind a mix between people liking it and people disliking it, but that’s the same for any car,” Alex confessed. “I’ve noticed that most of the older crowd don’t like it, as well as the people that call the Mustang a muscle car don’t like it. It’s a pony car!”
Of course, that’s a broad generalization, as this old writer digs the look, but it is easy to see how the car might elicit such wide-ranging reactions. In the end, the owner is happy with the result and that is all that truly matters. That said, he isn’t quite done with the mods just yet.
“I’ve partnered up with Signature Wheel and Archetype Racing for some future mods on the car,” Alex added. “I haven’t officially announced anything yet, but I like to think I’m not the typical Shelby owner who buys it and it sits in the garage for years. I daily-drive it and have fun with it. Only time will tell what’s to come…”
For more on Alex’s ride you can follow the car on the ’Gram right here.